How and When to Unfollow Twitter Users

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The best reason to unfollow Twitter users is that you no longer like seeing what they post in your feed. They’re annoying, they post spam, or they make you think angry thoughts when you see them clouding up your feed.

A bad reason to unfollow someone on Twitter is because they don’t follow you back, even though that’s why many people do unfollow others on Twitter. Back in the early days of Twitter, this was pretty common. When you followed someone, it was expected that the other person would follow you back.

Now, not so much. Twitter's usage has grown exponentially, and it's unreasonable to expect that every person you follow will follow you back—especially celebrities. Spammers and bots abound now, so people have turned off notifications when people follow them. So, if you think someone isn’t following you out of spite, maybe it’s just because they have no idea who you are and that you are following them.

With that said, nobody is under any obligation to follow you back on Twitter, and it’s unrealistic to expect that. It's a good practice, every now and then, to check your newest followers and follow back any you'd like to hear more from. Following all of them, however, would be unproductive; your feed would become overrun with irrelevant tweets. This is the same situation all the people you follow face, too.

In any case, you can unfollow Twitter users in a few different ways. Just be aware that your account may be flagged and suspended if you unfollow more than 100 people per day; this is because spammy bots tend to do this, and it’s a big red flag.

Unfollow Them the Traditional Way

Go to the user's profile and click the big blue Following button; it should turn red and say Unfollow. You’ll be able to tell if this user is following you back because the profile will note “follows you” next to the username.

Use Tools to Unfollow Efficiently

Many tools are out there to help Twitter users manage their followers and feeds. Here are a few that might help you:

  • ManageFlittr—This well-known tool lets you unload 100 people who don’t follow you every day; there's a fee to unfollow more. That's generally not recommended, though, because this can flag your account for suspension for the reasons mentioned earlier.
  • Qwittr—Want to know every time someone unfollows you? This app will send you an email. It also will Tweet for you to let everybody know when you lost a follower; the reasons for doing this are unclear, but it's good to know you can
  • JustUnfollow—This is kind of a mashup of Quittr and ManageFlittr. You can see who doesn’t follow you and then unfollow them, and you can get alerts and send auto-tweets about how many people followed and unfollowed you.

Many other tools will let you know who unfollows you. For an easy way to get new followers, try Twitter Chats.

General Guidelines

Here are a few rules to make for yourself regarding Twitter and followers:

  • Stop caring whether people follow you back.
  • Stop following people with the expectation that they’ll follow you back.
  • Care only about what’s on your Twitter feed and what you want to see.
  • Stop caring whether you show up in everybody else’s feeds.
  • Don’t ask people to follow you on Twitter. You'll look silly.
  • Keep trying to get the attention of your favorite celebrities; sometimes, they do write back!

When you want to unfollow someone, just do it. And don't block them, because it's not the same thing. If you need a tool to do it, then you probably made a lot of mistakes and followed people for the wrong reasons. That's OK! You won’t always know when someone's worth following right off the bat; however, if you need to bulk-unfollow people, it's probably worth your while to reassess your following strategy.

Here's a good general practice: When someone continually pops up in your feed posting something you find annoying, negative, unpleasant, or offensive, simply unfollow them. Just keep doing that as it occurs. You'll have a cleaner, more interesting feed so you can truly enjoy the exchange of ideas that Twitter can offer.